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FRENCH PROTESTANTS.

While the Committee of DissENTING MINISTERS have been exposed to the slander of men who were determined to reject evidence, as insuficient because it was too powerful for their prejudices and their perverseness, and wbile they have had to contend with a prevailing disposition to abandon the Protestants to those who persecute, becanse they have had the audacity also to calympiate them, they have neglected no means, which could justift the confidence of their wise and benevolent friends, develope the truth and bring before Europe the proofs of those crimes which bave been committed, in the name of Loyalty and Virtue.

The Rev. Clement Perrot, Pastor of the French Congregational Churches in the island of Guernscy, was accordingly requested by them to repair to France, in order to examine in the capital, and also on the +t, the real zituation of the Protestauts,--arrange plans for the applicatioø of the money obtained for their relies, and collect the history of transactions which had been so long stoutly denied, or ingeniously palliated.

For this important Mission their friend was specialy qualified, not only hy his perfect knowledge of the French language and the great respectability of bis character, but also by possessing, in a high degree, the confidence and esteem of the most respectable Protestants and Protestant ministers, and an intimate acquaintance with them, formed on bis visit to the South of Frauce, during the first restoration of the Bourbon family, and confirmed by frequent correspondence since that period.

It will be seen, by the Resolutions which follow, that this gentleman kindly undertook the task--that lie bas succeeded in the great objects which the Committee were anxious 10 accomplish—and that the General Budy of Ministers had the satisfaction of bis personal attendance at their Annual Meetiog, just returned from a journey of nearly 3000 miles, effected amidst many dangers and difficulties, in the course of eleven werks.

In a country, which may be denominated a vast prison, where private confidence and personal liberty are nearly annibitated," where spies mingle in every society, and arbitrary power scals up the channels of information, it Teqaired great exertion and prudence to collect precise and authentic intelligence, and at the same time not endanger the safety of individuals. Directed however, and favoured by Providence, which seems to have prepared its agent by a former visit for this great service to the general interests of truth and religion ; Mr. Perrot lies been able to procure and to bring to England, besides his personal testinwony (after baving travelled to Nismes and the surrounding country) a mass of evidence which will at once set the whole ques. tion in its true light, and form materials for the history of Protestantism in the 19th century.

It is impossible, in this paper, to give even an outline of these very important communications; but it would be improper not to refer to the objections which tbc docuinents, preparing for publication, must for ever silence.

Mr. Perrot demonstrates, that politics have only been the pretext for the persecutions which have ravaged several of the Departments -that the Catholics bad no ancient wrongs to avenge on the Protestants,-that it isimpossible to throw the blame on an unmanageable populace,-that it is equally impossible to exculpate the local authorities from a share, at least by connivance, inthe : outrages comunitted, and that to this day not one individual concerved in the

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French Protestants. horrors wlich have afflicted the city of Nismes, and the Department of which it is the capital, bas been punished. To illustrate 'tlie spirit which has actuated the persecuting royalists,

we insert the following account of the State of Affairs in the months of April and July, 1814:-

“The Catholic domestics no longer served their masters with the same zeal and affection as they had hitherto done. Husbands were separated from their wives, and wives from their husbands,-though the only motive was a difference in religion.

We were told that Catholic women actually received, in the confessional, the horrible advice to poison their Protestant husbands. The following is a fact less revolting, and which we can with certainty guarantee :-

A man named Mariana du Hameau de Maza, in the Commune of Cardel, Department of Gard, lived for three years upon the best terms with his wife, who was a Protestant. He went one day to confess to the Curé of his parish, Jean de Serre. This Priest put the express condition to a refusal to give absolution to his penitent; that he must endeavour to convert his wife to the Catholic religion, and the following was the advice which he gave him for that purpose :-- You must present yourself before her with an angry countenance, And when she demands the reason of this change, you must answer ber, I am not my own master, I am possessed with a demon from wbich you can deliver me, by turning Catholic, and you may thus save me, by saving yourself.' Marianna was a good Catholic, but he had the religion of good sense; he was above all a good husband, and be rejected the baneful advice, which tended to place bim on ill terms with a wise whom he had always found worthy of his affection.

A man of the name of Julian, a perruquier, at Nísmes, had not the same strength of mind. During several months he rendered his wife the most unhappy of women, without ever attempting to assign a motive for the unac.customed harshness with which he bebaved to her, or the il treatment which he made her undergo. It turned ont, that it arose from his having been told by a priest, that there must be uo longer any Protestants in France. Having reflected, however, that there was more of passion than of religion, in the advice which had been given to him, he suddenly changed his conduct, and confessed all to his wife.

We might present many other similar instances; but these are sufficient to shew the spirit whicb actuated the principal directors of the people, and which leave little room for astonishment at the disorders of which we are about to present a deplorable, but true picture."

In July, 1814, M. Baron, Counsellor of the Cour Royale of Nismos, conceived the project of voting to God a child of silver, in the event of the Duchess d'Angouleme giving a prince to France. He communicated it to the Marguillerie; it assembled-deliberated, and this project of M. Bacon was soon changed into a religious vow, unanimously formed, which was solemnly proclaimed the 19th of July, in the parish-church of St. Castor, and in a church dedicated to St. Francis de Salles. The whole city of Nismes was informed of it--it was talked of in the societies it was talked of tete a teteit excited the people to repeat without end their paters and aves, wbo, after they had intlamed their passions by crying Vive le Roi!-Vive les Bourbons !--came to knecl at the altar, whcre their imaginations were again filled witb the same

French Protestants

3 ahjects. This unhappy effect producen no alarm in the minds of those who maintained an infuence over the populace. However, this miglit be, a depu. tation of the Marguilliers of the parishes of the city of Nismes, consisting of M. M. the Viscount de Bernis, the Abbe d'Esgrigny, the Viscount de Suffren, the Marquis d'Assas, the Marquis de Rocheinaure, the Marquis de Montcalm, the Marquis de Calviere Vesenobre, Triuquilagues, first Advocate General of the court of Nismes, and Froment Secretary of the King's Cabinet, having had the honor of being admitted to an audicide of. Madame the Duchess d'Angouleme, to comónicate to her the vow of which she was the object, M. Trinquilagaes spoke as follows:-

* Madame,

" In the name of the administrators of the parishes of the city of Nismes, we come to present to you the homage of a religious act with which they have been inspired by their ardent love for the blood of their King, and their profound veneration for your Royal flighuess. Like all Frenchmen, they have felt that there is wanting to our happiness a son of yours; and they ask it of him from whom emanates every gooil. They have deposited at the foot of the altar their vow to consecrate to him a monument of their gratitude. They wonld have left this vow of their hearts under the vale of the sanctuary, and have waited in respectful silence for the benefit which their prayers solicited; but your Royal Highness las often said that tho love of the French could only convey consolation to your heart; and they rejoiced at the thought that, in coinmunicating their sentiments, they might perhaps soften a moment of melancholy recollection," &c.

We subjoin a fact which took place on the 3d of July, 1815. The Sieur Bigne, a Commission factor at Nismcs, after having passed some months at Lyons, was on his return home. On the 1st July, 1815, he arrived at St. Esprit. There he learned that the environs of Nismes were infested by banditti, who committed the greatest cxcesses against the Protestants. He was undecided, in consequence, what course to take; but as he had done no ill to any one, why should they do harm to him? Important business and the desire of sceing his family urged him besides to return bome. . He set out from St. Esprit the 20 July, in the evening, with two travelling companions, Protestants, like himself. On the 3il, as the day began to break, they arrived at Besome, a Catholic village, two leagues froin Nismes. They heard a tumult, and perceived gendarmes, Their carriage was soon surrounded. They shewed themselves, and some one recognized them. “There are the Black Throats(Gorges Noires) cried they; and the cry spread from mooth to mouth. The whole village assembled in an instant. They made the travellers descend from the carriage, and conducted thence to a ficld of olive trees, where they were to be shot. The signal for execution was given, when, by providential interposition, the Mayor, who was a well-mcaning mall, but durst not say any thing, made the Sieur Bigne comprehend by a gesture, wbich he understood, that a sign of Catholicity might save bim. The gesture was seized with as much rapidity as jt bad been made. It was to the sign of the cross, and to some words of pater that they bad learned in their childhood, that the three unfortunate men owed their safety. “Now," cried the populace,

we were about to kill our brethren." Mr. Perrot brings a dreadful account of tho situation of the Protestants as late as the last month.

Williams's Library, Red Cross Street, April 16, 1816. At the ANNUAL MEETING of the General Body of PROTESTANT DISSENTING MINISTERS of the Three Denominations,

Rev. JOHN HUMPHRYS in the Chair, The Secretary having made a Report fro n the Committee appointed to purstie Measures for the Relief of the persecuted French Protestants, and the Rev. Clement Perrot having communicated the result of his personal inquiries, undertaken at the request of the Committee, into their past

and present situation, Resolved unanimously,

1. That the Report of the Committee appointed by this Body,“ for the purpose of Inquiry, Superintendence, Distribution of the Funds which may be contriLuted for i he relief of the French Protestants, suffering for conscience-sake," -now presented by the Secretary, displaying the zeal, the industry, and the perseverance with which they have prosecuted the objects confided to their care, be accepted by this body with the highest sentiments of satisfaction and gratitude.

2. That the account now commanicated to this body, of the situation of the French Protestants, by the Rev. Clement Perrot, who, at the request of the Committee, has so generously, avd with so much personal inconvenience and risque, visited the scenes of persecution in France, while it demands our most cordial acknowledgements, bas produced the deepest conviction that no relaxations should be suffered in the exertions of the Committee, but that their most vigorous efforts should be continued, till complete security and repose be obtained for those who are suffering for conscience-sake.

3. That although the lawless outrages of the persecutors in the south of France have happily ahated, yet that the circumstances of our suffering Protestant brethren in that goarter, still call, for our sympathy and assistance; and that it be strongly recommended to our brethren throughout the Kingdom, who have Dot yet inade collections on their behalf, to follow the example of those who have already, by this means, declared publicly their abhorrence of persecution, and i contributed to the relief of soffering humanity. (Signed)

By Order of the Committee,

THOMAS MORGAN, Secretary

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The REPORT of the Rev. C. PERROT, printed by order of the Committee, may be had of all Booksellers; and an HISTORICAL RELATION of the Persecutions endured by the Protestants of the South of France, in one volume octavo, prepared by the same Gentleman, will speedily be published.

"ILLIAMS, Printer, Clerkenwell.

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ORIGINAL LETTERS, &c. terial office must be a matter rather of Sketch of the Life, Character and conjecture than absolute certainty,

Fritings of the late Francis Webb, Mankind in general are influenced, Esq. By the Rcv. T. Howe. I believe, by mixed motives. Con

Bridport, March 23, 1816. scious of talents which qualified him Mr. Editor,

for almost any department in the Stale, INCERELY do I join with your it is not improbable that Mr. Webb

correspondent in the Repository of was actuated at that time of his youthFebruary, '(p. 71.] in the regret' he ful ardour, in some degree at least, by expresses, that no Memoir of the life the spirit of worldly ambition. Wheof the late Francis Webb, Esq. has ther the change in his situation renyet been presented to the public. His dered him more useful 10 mankind, papers, I am informed, he left to an or really happier in himself, than he intimate friend, the Rev. Mr. Racket, otherwise would have been, is a point a clergymnan of liberal principles, great which the present, writer will not atscientitic knowledge, various litera- tempt to decide. Many interesting cirture, and what is still more to his ho- cuinstance of his life, I have heard nour, of a pious and virtuous charac- from his intimate friends and associates, ter, than whom no one is better qua- and some of them from himself, lified to become his biographer. Whe- though unable to state them in the ther he intends to engage in this office precise chronological order in which or is restrained by the wish expressed ihey took place. Recommended to the by his deceased friend, that “ he may late Duke of Leeds, he was for some not be made the object of posthumous time, I believe, Secretary to his Grace, praise," I cannot determine. An in. who greatly respected him for the junction or request of this nature, must powers of his mind and the qualities in the view of the present writer, be of his disposition. Sent by our gogreatly outweighed' by the considera- vernment on a private embassy to one tion of utility to the public, if a faith- of the petty Courts of Germany,* the ful memoir of departed worth be really recital of the scenes he then passed calculated to be both instructive and through has often fixed the attention gratifying. Should Mr. Webb have and interested the feelings of many a kept a journal of the circumstances of social circle. One of the circumstances his varied life, (as I am told he did, I have heard him relate of his narrow written in short-hand) a large volume escape from: robbery and murder, which might be furnished, abounding no was prevented, under the Protection of doubt with interesting information and an overruling providence, by his courational entertainment. He was a na- rage and presence of mind, I shall entive of Taunton ; but of his early days I can say nothing. When he first came out into the world, a dissenting

To the Prince of Hesse, respecting the minister among the General Baptists, treaty for some of his human subjects called it could not have been expected that Christian soldiers, whom we British Chris he would afterwards move in so dif- kill or be killed in our service, fighting with

tians had hired of himn a Christian Prince to ferent a sphere. The two little volumes of elegant Sermons he published, professed followers of a leader " meek ang

our Christian brethren in America ; all the to which your correspondent refers, do lowly in heart," who has declared, " By credit both to his head and to his heart. this shall all men know that ye are my disllis inducements to resign she minis- ciples, if ye love one another." VOL. XI.

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